About Ponytail Palms - Pony Tail Palm – Not a Palm at All

About Beaucarnea recurvata
Article by Plant-Care.com
The "Ponytail Palm" is really not a palm at all. It is a member of the Lilaceae (lily family), and is known by several names. It has earned the name "elephant’s foot" because of its bulbous base. Because of its base and thin trunk have some people call it a bottle palm. It is native to the desert of Mexico and is somewhat of a curious landscaping plant outdoors on the patio or indoors.

A sturdy plant can be used as a single specimen usually in containers 14 inches or larger, or planted in several 6- to 10-inch pots to appear more bushlike. Single specimens, range in height from 6 to 18 feet tall.

What makes the "Ponytail" unique is its large base and head of pendulous, smooth-edged flat leaves, There are NO TWO specimens alike.

Ponytail’s are native to the dry Mexican climate, this habitat allows it to survive interior winter heat very well, as long the plant doesn’t receive too frequent waterings, and never allow water to sit in the bottom of the saucer or pot. An interesting fact is that Nolina recurvata stores its water in its base.

allow the soil to dry well between waterings, and if you have any doubt on whether or not to water the plant, skip it until the next week.

Dry, brown foliage, a shriveled stem or desiccated roots are usually signs of underwatering. If you are overwatering, we normally see light new growth, stem rot or root rot will appear.

Light requirements for ponytails are pretty easy to remember if you think of where it is native to – the Mexico deserts. Provide bright indirect light to full sun. Any window space indoors particularly one facing north will suit the light requirements of this high-light plant. For optimum performance, however, full sun is best.

Generally, the ponytail is insect free, but on occasion does attract mealybugs, spider mites and scale.

Nolina recurvata – the "Ponytail Palm" is a plant to enjoy. You just provide plenty of light and water it less frequently than you think necessary, and this plant will add a unique beauty wherever your use it.

Common Names for Ponytail Palms

Ponytail Palms - Beaucarnea recurvata

Ponytail Palms
Article by Floridata
Common Names: Ponytail palm, bottle palm, nolina, elephant-foot tree
The ponytail is a weird palmlike succulent with a greatly expanded base and a single trunk with a rosette of long, straplike leaves that arch and droop. With age, the trunk eventually develops a few branches. Ponytail can get up to 30 ft (9.1 m) tall and the base up to 12 ft (3.7 m) across, but houseplants generally remain less than 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) tall. The leaves are thin and flat, up to 6 ft (1.8 m) long and only 1 in (2.5 cm) wide. They are clustered in dense tufts at the ends of the branches and arch upward, then droop downward. The plant looks a little like a palm, and a little like a big onion sitting on the ground with a single stalk growing up and sporting a parasol of drooping, straplike leaves. Flowers are produced only on large specimens. They are creamy white and inconspicuous individually but borne in large showy upright clusters that extend above the leaves.

Usage of Ponytail PalmsPonytail makes a large and handsome houseplant, doing well even in rooms with air conditioning as long as it has bright light. It's a good specimen plant for a rock garden in a dry, warm climate. They do well even in rainy climates like Florida as long as the soil is sandy and extremely well drained.

Features of Ponytail PalmsPonytail palm is often sold as a potted plant for the interesting appearance of its swollen base, which is in fact an adaptation for storing water during times of drought. It is, of course, not a palm, but related to the yuccas and century plants.

Other Ponytail Palm Description

Article by evergrowing.com

The ponytail palm takes its name from its resemblance to hair cascadeing out of a ponytail. It's also called a "bottle palm" because its trunk becomes a bottle like bulb at soil level. Because of its massive size the plants are mostly root-bound. While they can store water in their bulb, and use their water slowly, they probably don't have a lot of soil in their pot. If the roots become too dry the lower leaves turn brown or yellow and the plant looks a little ashy.

These are durable high light plants. They take up a lot of room and the leaf edges are rather sharp.

Remove discolored lower leaves. Do not trim brown off the ends. Brown is normal and more cutting will produce more brown, plus a jagged edge.

Ponytail Palm Quick Info Guide

Ponytail Palm Care - All You Need To Know

Article by ArticleBase.com

Essentials of Ponytail Palm Care are very important to comprehend in order to cherish this beautiful looking ponytail like appearing plants. It is considered to be the easiest growing indoor home plant. The attention required for executing the care of the palm is very miniscule. One important aspect is that they grow very slowly and hence it is advised for the growers to not anticipate more spurts every year. The appearance of Ponytail Palm is treasured by many people due to its long leafages, as well as bottle fashioned trunk. By giving appropriate care to the ponytail palm, it can survive for several years.

1) - Water: The trunk is similar to the shape of a bottle. The shape of the bottle actually makes the task of caring simpler. The water is stored in the trunk for longer time periods and hence, it needs not to be watered quite frequently. Usually, water the ponytail palm when the soil appears to be dry. Excessive watering can drown the roots and let the tree decay.

2) - Soil: At the time of repotting, an essential ponytail palm care tip is to remember that soil for the plant needs to be an excellent blend of sand and soil. A proper mixture for repotting will ensure the water from grouping in the region of root ball.

3) - Light: The caring of Ponytail Palm is very simple for people desiring to grow the palms indoors. In order to provide the appropriate sum of light required by the plant it is suggested to place it near a sunny window. This program of the ponytail palm care usually requires bright light.

It is very important for the plant grower to decide the desired size of the plant. A grower who is living in small apartment or perhaps in a condo is advised to have a small tree. How can this be accomplished? Simple, just repot the plant once or twice. Subsequently, if a grower repots the plant in a much bigger pot, its trunk expands and hence the tree is encouraged to grow up tall. A best ponytail palm care advice is to stop this practice of repotting the plant after 2 years, in order to maintain it in a moderate size. It will grow around 2 feet, which is an average and proper height for a ponytail palm tree. Irrespective of whether the palm is small or big, it is very simple to take ponytail palm care and hence even a beginner can start gardening with this plant.

Ponytail Palm Article

Article by Connie Krochmal
BellaOnline's Cacti and Succulents Editor

We can’t always recognize a succulent by its leaves. The ponytail palm is an example. This is also known as the elephant-foot tree and bottle palm. Often grown as a houseplant in cold climates, this plant is native to Mexico. Its Latin name is Beaucarnea recurvata.

It is a member of the Agave family. As a houseplant, the ponytail palm normally reaches about three feet in height. When grown outdoors in warm climates, it can easily reach 20 feet tall. Normally it will only have one main trunk until it is a few years old. Then it develops branches towards the top.

For the most part, this plant behaves much as a shrub or tree. When it is young, it has almost no trunk to speak of. At that time it looks more like an oversized onion with lots of long, thin, ribbon-like leaves at the top. These have sharp edges, and emerge in a fountain-like fashion. They tend to curl downward. The foliage can be up to two feet in length and only an inch or so wide. Because they are so long, the plant really does need a generous amount of room indoors.

As the plant matures, the trunk becomes thicker, and develops a brownish-gray bark on the surface. The swollen base continues to increase in size until it looks more like a bottle than anything else. This can be over six feet across.

As a houseplant, the ponytail palm doesn’t have a chance to develop flowers very often. When grown as an outdoor garden plant, it produces a flower stalk that can be 16 feet or more in height. This contains clusters of small beige or yellowish blooms. These normally open during the summer months. Because the male and female blossoms are on separate plants, a single plant will likely not produce seeds.

Regarding care, the ponytail palm needs full sun, but will take a little bit of shade. If you normally put your houseplants outdoors for the summer months, choose a sheltered spot where this will be protected from rain.

During the winter months, the ponytail palm likes a cool temperature, down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

So far as watering is concerned, this needs to dry out between waterings. Remember that it uses the swollen trunk to store water. During the winter, water just enough to keep the potting soil from going completely dry.

When it comes to insects and diseases, this plant can be attacked by scales. If the humidity is low, it can develop spider mites.

Never think of pruning this plant. In other words, if your plant gets too tall or too wide for its indoor space, you will need to give it away and get a smaller one. Trimming should be restricted to removal of the side shoots when the trunk starts to develop new branches at the top. The ponytail palm doesn’t need repotting very often. Every three or four years is usually often enough. As a matter of fact, it prefers to be pot-bound.

There is a related species, Beaucarnea stricta. This resembles the ponytail. However, its foliage is a little stiffer in nature. The leaves have touches of yellow along the edges. This species has more of a tapered trunk that looks less like a bottle.

Plant of the Week

Ponytail Palm
Latin: Nolina (Beaucarnea) recurvata
Article by arhomeandgarden

Over the years houseplants have come and gone through my home. My wife prefers the verdant look of lush, green foliage while I fancy the oddities that nature serves up, especially desert plants. On one plant we both agree, the Ponytail Palm (Nolina recurvata).

The ponytail palm, also known as Bottle Palm or Elephant Foot Tree, is a member of the agave family and is native to southeastern Mexico. In its native habitat it grows as a 30 tall tree and looks like an oddly branched palm.

What makes ponytail palm stand out is its distended base which can reach four feet across. The gray, swollen base flares up with the graceful sweep of a piece of modern sculpture. The inflated trunk is for water storage and will see the tree through extended periods of drought.

The leaves of ponytail palm are long, narrow and scratchy to the touch, but without serrate margins. On landscape trees they can be as much as six feet long but on houseplants usually are a third that length. Flowers are produced in large white panicles but only occur on really old plants and then only in tropical climes.

Since it was first described back in the mid 19th century, botanists have had trouble deciding what to call this plant. Here in the US we have mostly used the name Beaucarnea recurvata to describe it while in Europe Nolina recruvata was preferred. So in the current climate of botanical detente, we are migrating towards the European use of Nolina. The genus name is after C. P. Nolin, a French agricultural writer who coauthored a treatise on farming in 1755.

Ponytail palms are grown from seed which germinates readily with no special treatment.

Given good growing conditions seedlings can produce two foot tall stems with grapefruit size bases in a couple years. Under lower light conditions it’s growth slows, but it will persist for years becoming more impressive with each passing season.

Big pots ultimately produce big plants with big bases. But because of ponytail palm’s aversion to over watering, pot size should be increased gradually.

As a houseplant ponytail palm is a godsend for the disorganized, seeming to thrive on mistreatment that would kill most houseplants. The tip browning seen on leaves can be caused by too dry conditions, too much fertilizer or high a fluoride content in the soil. Trimming off the burned tips tidy’s the plant up.

This is a desert plant adapted to bright light conditions, so it should receive as much light as possible inside the home. But, it has a forgiving soul and will tolerate six months of low light conditions without flinching. If light conditions are poor during the winter months, a vacation outdoors to the patio will insure new growth each season. Fertilizing monthly during these summer vacations will be of benefit.

The usual houseplant pests - scale and mealybugs - can attack ponytail palms but it does not seem to be their first choice when selecting a plant to attack.

By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Extension Horticulturist - Ornamentals
Extension News - March 29, 2002

Related Ponytail Palm Info

Ponytail Palm Info